Welcome Guide

Welcome to By the People! Our goal is to make documents word-searchable in the Library of Congress catalog. Help us transcribe original items, many of which have never been transcribed before. Anyone can transcribe, you don’t need an account, but registered volunteers can access the review and tag features. You can choose which tasks you want to do, and what pages you want to work on. To create an account, go to our registration page. Let's get started!

  1. Choose what to transcribe. You can either click the "Let's Go" button on the homepage or explore our various campaigns.
  2. Transcribe what you can into the white box on the right. Transcribe lines in the order they appear and preserve line breaks. This will make the transcriptions useful for researchers. If you see multiple pages, such as an open notebook with two pages, just transcribe the content in the order it appears. You can use key commands to manipulate the image you are transcribing. Press the question mark button above the document image in the transcription interface to see the available keystroke combinations.
  3. Don’t reproduce features such as underlining, bold text, italics or indentation in your transcription. Only words will be searchable in these transcriptions--not formatting. See the How to transcribe section for more information.
  4. Click “Save” as you go to save your work in progress. Always click “Save” before you move from transcribing to tagging or moving to another page.
  5. Click "Save" and “Submit for review” when you are done transcribing and are ready to move on to the next page or to reviewing or tagging. Anonymous users will be prompted to submit a captcha.
  6. You can explore collections by clicking the Campaigns link at the top of the screen.
  7. Registered volunteers can review other people’s transcriptions. To start reviewing pages, select an item and click an image titled “Review” or filter the images by "Review". Read a page carefully and decide if the transcription looks correct. When a transcription is accurate and you do not need to make any changes, click the "Approve" button. The page will now be marked as complete. If you need to make changes start editing the page by clicking "Edit". Be sure to click “Save” periodically, and then click “Finish”. Changes you submit will be reviewed by another volunteer. You cannot review your own work. This process continues until someone Completes a transcription by clicking “Approve” without making changes.
  8. If you have a question or comment about how By the People works, or about a Campaign, item or page, connect with our team and other volunteers on History Hub, a public online forum where everyone can join in the discussion. If you would prefer to email a Community Manager send us a message on our Contact Us page.

  9. Ready to get started?

    LET'S GO!